Families call on governor to reinstate federal unemployment benefits

JACKSON, Tenn. — Tennessee families are calling on Gov. Bill Lee to reverse his decision to end federal unemployment benefits from the American Rescue Plan.

The governor’s decision will cut $485 million that benefits local economies.

Families believe this decision will force many people to take low wage jobs without benefits, keeping family members out of the workforce altogether because of unaffordable childcare or losing family healthcare.

“While on unemployment I was able to help her pay her bills, but right now I don’t know what I’m going to do, where our next bills going to come from. I don’t know if we’re going to be able to keep lights or even keep the apartment that we’re living in because it’s a worrying struggle on us,” said Thomas Rimmer.

Though the federal government passed the American Rescue Plan, Gov. Lee has refused ARP funds that give unemployed Tennesseans an extra $300 while they seek a post-pandemic job to replace the one they lost or one that hasn’t yet returned.

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